The Slate Valley Museum will host a panel discussion, “Slate Valley, Stone Valley,” that will explore the historical and current perceptions of each of these regions and develop future collaborating opportunities.
The program will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at the museum.
The first part of the discussion will focus on the region’s history, leading up to the present day.
“The slate and marble industries have shaped the history of the Slate Valley and Stone Valley regions, including Salem, Granville and Whitehall in Washington County, N.Y. and Rupert, Pawlet, Wells, Fair Haven, Poultney, Castleton, Hubbardton, Dorset, Manchester, Danby and Proctor in Vermont,” says Slate Valley Museum Education Coordinator and roundtable panelist Bob Isherwood.
“As we gain a better understanding of our cultural and economic roots, we can begin to understand the present and explore the region’s potential future.”
Local researchers will join the panel to provide the historical context of the region’s quarries and lifestyles. Susanne Rappaport collaborated with her husband, Neil Rappaport, on area oral history and community study through his photographs and later authored “Messages from a Small Town, Photographs Inside Pawlet, Vermont.” She was the founding director of the Slate Valley Museum, the director of education at Robert Todd Lincoln’s Hildene in Manchester and the curator of the Dorset Historical Society Bley House Museum.
Panelist Peter Patten received a degree in history from Castleton State College and lectures on the history and stories of Irish immigrants to the Slate Valley region. Patten’s ancestors hail from Ireland and he grew up hearing the lore, stories and biographies of the Irish families who came to the Slate Valley in the 1800s to follow their traditional trade of slate making and quarrying.
Carol Driscoll, stone sculptor and director of The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland and slate sculptor Kerry O. Furlani from Poultney will discuss perceptions of slate versus marble and other stones used in art. Both of their artwork is currently on exhibit at the Slate as Muse exhibition, currently at the museum.
The panelists from the Slate Valley Museum and the Vermont Marble Museum will offer additional perspectives that will lead to a present-day exploration of the current perceptions of the Slate Valley and Stone Valley areas.
“This round table will help us explore and understand the sense of place, or regional identities, that have defined the Slate Valley and Stone Valley, both in the past and today,” notes Slate Valley Museum Interim Director Sarah Kijowski, “We really want this program to delve into what it means to be a part of the these regions, to prompt discussion and collaboration.”
Following the panelists’ presentations, the roundtable will shift the focus to the future.
“We want to initiate a brainstorming conversation with Slate Valley and Stone Valley residents and businesses,” says exhibition coordinator and panel facilitator Serena Kovalosky. “We will explore how we can unite these regions and collaborate on ways to promote the area as a group and encourage tourism.”
This project is supported in part by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities as well as with funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council.
The Slate Valley, Stone Valley roundtable is free with $5 museum admission. The Slate Valley Museum is located at 17 Water Street in Granville. More information is available by calling 518-642-1417.